Of all the boys, our African side-neck turtle, Jaws, is the most well behaved. He lives in a large tank in the kid's room, complete with lots of water to swim and big rocks to sun himself by his heat lamp. He is always smiling (well, it's also the type of turtle he is, but I like to think it's because he is really happy). He is safe behind the glass walls of his tank.
Not anymore. Jaws has been tank jumping, all the way down to the hard wooden floor. Twice this week in fact. He's survived both times, I'm elated to say, but I'm wondering how he finds the power to push through his lid and then take a flying leap. This last time, I started to wonder if maybe our house is just too much for the little guy. Could it be, well, too chaotic?
I felt that way tonight. I got home late from a work meeting to find things in usual disarray--dishes piled high, the dog chewing tiny soldiers, homework spread everywhere (but not done), dirty socks under the coffee table and on TOP of the kitchen table, and everybody needing help with something immediately. A hundred things in a hundred different directions. It's a struggle. A struggle for patience, for getting it all done. A struggle to slow down and enjoy it like everyone says you should. Mainly, I'm just struggling to stay on top of being a good mom. I feel like I'm failing. Miserably.
I snuck upstairs tonight, almost an hour before bedtime, because I couldn't take anymore. Yes, I did. I hid from my kids....in my own house. And although I didn't carry up the bottle of wine (which crossed my mind, believe me!), I did leave the "wild man" zoo downstairs for calm alone time. I sacrificed quality time with my kids for quiet time with myself. Slight guilt, but I can also feel the rational me starting to come back in to focus.
To make amends, I squeezed my kids extra tight at bedtime and smacked lots of kisses on their sweet faces. I hope, I really hope, my suffocating love can make up for all my mistakes, including hiding away tonight. Do you think there's lots of wiggle room in parenting for all the imperfection? Please let the answer be yes.
Oh, and the turtle? Well, I checked on him tonight before turning out their light. He wouldn't even look my way, the sneaky bastard. I know he's planning another escape, but I can hardly blame him, I guess. I know exactly how he feels in all this chaos.